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Rethinking Digital Preservation in a Time of Crisis

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - 09:00 to Wednesday, July 8, 2020 - 17:00

This is a two day online event, co-organised by the Digital Curation Lab, the Digital Preservation Coalition, Redeye and the Photographic Collections Network.

Tickets now available - please scroll down for booking.

This two day event explores how we can best preserve and give access to our digital archives and collections. It includes:

  • Practical workshops giving the basics of best practice in looking after digital material
  • Talks and provocations outlining the strategic and curatorial challenges of digital preservation
  • World café-style discussion and networking sessions.

Event background

During the Covid-19 lockdown we’ve all become acutely aware of one of the most essential values of digital preservation: remote access. Most physical collections, libraries, and archives have been closed down for several weeks. Working from home is problematic, especially when we keep in mind that rather than working from home by design or choice, we are actually at home during a crisis trying to work. In any case, primary access to collections is now digital more than ever. This brings the need for better understanding in digital preservation and the development of skills for digital curation to the fore more than ever before.Making the case for, and delivering, a programme of digital preservation is still a tough (and expensive) challenge, but perhaps lockdown will help everyone understand its importance.

About the event

The Digital Curation Lab at the University of Salford’s MediaCityUK campus has teamed up with Redeye and the Photographic Collections Network to offer a 2-day online training and exploration event in collaboration with the Digital Preservation Coalition. The programme contains training sessions from the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), knowledge sharing conversations in a world cafè style, and keynote provocations by world-class specialists exploring the strategic and policy side of digital preservation programmes and the curation of digital objects. This event is not limited to the digital preservation of photographs or art objects but will also deal with preserving a wide range of audiovisual materials.


This event is delivered online via Zoom. By the day before the event you will receive the Zoom links to allow you to log in. You are welcome to attend some or all of the events; we are aware that due to homeworking many participants may not be able to attend all the sessions. If you have any enquiries about this please email 

Who is this event aimed at?

  • Anyone working with collections or archives of digital media, in particular if you are seeking to improve your practices, increase access, or set up new digital collections or archives. This can be at any scale from an individual’s archive to large museum or library. 
  • Anyone with issues around preservation or curation of digital material.
  • Anyone whose organisation is concerned with managing digital assets and collections, particularly if you are looking to improve digital preservation policies and programmes.

We will concentrate on audiovisual material; similar principles apply to photographs, sound, video, animation and 3D files. There is a focus on born-digital work, but the event should also be relevant to these working with physical objects that have been digitised. 

Althogh some terms in the workshop descriptions might be unfamiliar, the workshops will be accessible to those just starting to tackle this area for the first time.



9:00              Event opens on Zoom

9:15              Welcome and introductions: Toni Sant, Paul Herrmann

9:30              Keynote: Geoff Belknap, Head Curator, National Science and Media Museum.  

"The Digital Ecology - how and what we collect." The Science Museum Group’s emerging approach to collecting and curating digital material.

10:00            World café discussion and networking session A

10:30            BREAK

10:45            World café discussion and networking session B

11:15            BREAK

11:30            DPC training session: Introduction to Digital Preservation

This session will provide a broad introduction to digital preservation, establishing why it is important and going over the main issues and activities involved. It will define essential digital preservation terminology, describe key standards, and provide an overview of methodologies that can be employed for a range of digital materials. (approx. 1 hour)

All DPC training sessions today are delivered by Amy Currie with Sharon McMeekin

12:30            LUNCH BREAK

13:30            DPC training session: Introduction to Bitstream Preservation

This session will give an overview on how information is stored and processed by computers using files and file formats, the key risks that are faced, and how participants can start identifying preferred file formats for preservation of their digital media within their archive/repository. It will describe the concept of 'Bitstream Preservation' and what can be included in simple bitstream preservation workflows. (approx. 1 hour)

14:30            BREAK

15:00            DPC training session: Risk Management for Digital Preservation

This session will explore risk management, focusing on risk assessments for digital preservation. There will be a short exercise on undertaking a risk and opportunities assessment as well as time allocated for questions and discussion about assessing risk in a time of crisis. (approx. 1 hour 30 min) 

16:30            BREAK

17:30            Evening session: Peter Krogh, photographer, author and technologist

“Five essential rules for digital photography preservation.” Peter gives an introduction to what he regards as the most important principles for managing digital photo collections. Plus time for Q&A on subjects around workflow, storage, backup, metadata and software.

NB all attendees are entitled to a discount on purchase of Peter Krogh's The DAM Book. Details will be given to you at the event.


9:00              Event opens; welcome and introductions at approx 9:15

9:30              Keynote: Andy Mabbett, Wikipedian, author and digital & open content consultant.

"Working with Wikimedia Projects, or how a bunch of upstart amateurs can dramatically increase your reach."  Everyone knows Wikipedia, but what about Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, Wikisource and Wiktionary? By collaborating with the communities - which include many professional archivists - that build those projects and more, archives and other cultural bodies have found that they can reach new audiences at low cost. But some organisations are resistant. Why is that, and are they right?

10:00            Q&A and discussion with Andy Mabbett

10:30            Networking sessions – a chance to meet and chat to some of the other participants.

11:00            BREAK

11:30            DPC training session: Select and Transfer Workflow

This session will examine the activities information managers should undertake up to and including transferring data into their archive/repository. This will include issues to discuss with and guidance to give to depositors/records creators, legal agreements that need to be in place, requirements for minimum metadata to be included with a transfer, and options for transferring content. There will be time allocated to discuss challenges with transfer in the time of crisis. (approx. 1 hour 15 min)

All DPC training sessions today are delivered by Sharon McMeekin with Amy Currie

12:45            LUNCH BREAK

13:45            DPC training session: Ingest Workflow

This session will cover the skills for managing the processing of digital collections into an archive/repository. This will include what hardware and software might be required for an ingest workstation, and help participants understand how to begin documenting the digital collections at different levels of granularity. There will be time allocated to discuss challenges with ingest in the time of crisis (approx. 1 hour 15 mins).

15:00            BREAK

15:30            Training session: Preserve Workflow

This session will provide a broad overview of digital preservation storage issues. It will include identifying key risks such as obsolescence, the pros and cons of different types of storage, managing information security and access permissions. It will also cover talking to IT colleagues about our technological requirements (approx. 1 hour).

16:30            BREAK

17:00            Closing session: Marion Crick, Head of Collections Management, V&A Museum

"Permanent collections: How do we ensure the legacy of our digital collecting?" Marion closes the event; she looks at the legacy of the digital preservation decisions we make, and what we choose to preserve. 

18:00            Relax - feel free to stay on and chat via Zoom for a short while!



Geoff Belknap is Head Curator at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, and a historian of photography, science, museums and visual culture. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2011 and has previously worked as a researcher and post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. He is the auhor of From a Photograph, exploring the authenticity of early photography.

Amy Currie manages training and skills at the Digital Preservation Coalition, and has considerable experience in the field of digital preservation and training, having recently co-convened the Description, Cataloguing and Navigation course for postgraduate Information Management & Preservation students at the University of Glasgow.

Peter Krogh is a photographer, author, and technologist working on the creation, deployment and preservation of digital media. He is well known in the photography community as the author of The DAM Book - Digital Asset Management for Photography; and related guides on workflow, digitisation, cataloguing and organisation of photographs. He is also Chief Product Officer for Tandem Vault, a cloud-based DAM system.

Andy Mabbett, FRSA, (ORCID: 0000-0001-5882-6823) is a consultant who specialises in advising organisations about Wikipedia and its sister projects, and training people to edit Wikipedia and Wikidata. He has given talks on the movement on five continents, and has worked as a “Wikimedian in Residence” for a number of archives, museums, art galleries, learned societies and universities, and is currently in residence with Coventry University. He also edits those projects for fun.

Sharon McMeekin is Head of Workforce Development, and Training and Skills, at the Digital Preservation Coalition. Her responsibilities include training outputs, the scholarship scheme, and acting as managing editor of the Digital Preservation Handbook.

Marion Crick works for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London as Head of Collections Management and Project Lead for Content/Data/Object; the latter is a project to articulate and enable meaningful access to digital artworks. As Head of Collections Management, she leads development of information and process standards for managing the V&A’s collections, and has never found a standard that couldn’t be improved. With 20 years’ experience of managing information and image collections, she has seen digital collections and their managers evolve, and wants to develop a standard that serves the objects and the communities that surround them. 


EVENT STAFF AND ORGANISERS (direct any queries to one of us during the event)

Toni Sant, Director of The Digital Curation Lab

Paul Herrmann, Director of Redeye and The Photographic Collections Network

Debbie Cooper, Manager, The Photographic Collections Network

John McMillan, Administration Officer, The Digital Preservation Coalition

Rachael Burns, Programme Co-ordinator, Redeye



Registration closes 2pm on 6th July 2020; Zoom links sent out by 4pm. Contact us if you don't receive the links.

The event is free of charge and open to members of:


Please click the relevant booking type below. You will be taken to a separate ticketing page.

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